From ROYGBIV to Magenta, listening to AIVA ASTRA’s music makes one thing above all else clear: “Love is at the center of everything that I do. Just share love, that’s the service that I believe I’m here to give.”
AIVA ASTRA’S approach to songwriting embodies this principle wholeheartedly; when constructing a song, she thinks not only of its more traditional elements like lyrics and sound, but also the way it will be performed, its cover art, its costume design: from start to finish, her songwriting process is as heavily steeped in imagining the visual manifestation of the song as it is in its auditory manifestation. “Like a musical,” AIVA ASTRA muses. Most of all, AIVA ASTRA imagines the world that the song will create and the community that its spirit will foster: At her core, AIVA ASTRA is a worldbuilder, a uniter—a storyteller.
“I want to bring together music, performance, art, and conversations about who we are as people and the healing that we need to do.” Creating an event or space in which to perform her art—one where artist and audience can intimately connect—is her ultimate goal.
“I’m not just up there to perform for you. I’m up there to connect with you.”
These worlds and the stories that she weaves with her mystical prose and aethereal instrumentals are emblematic of the stories she found solace in when younger. The written word was and is AIVA ASTRA’s first and most enduring sanctuary: as a child she called home the fantastical worlds constructed in the literature she devoured and, being very shy, found her voice through her writing.
Despite her shyness, AIVA ASTRA was never alone: she always had friends—of both the human and non-human kind. The spiritual have always had a ubiquitous if perhaps unseen role in her life; she spent many happy hours as a child with her ‘imaginary friends,’ or spirit guides. Her father practiced magic, and according to him, AIVA ASTRA was born of magical blood. His mother was involved in the metaphysical; she taught her granddaughter to use tarot cards, to practice meditation, and the basic principles of holistic wellness.
Her Nana on her mother’s side was a woman of faith, and although AIVA ASTRA didn’t necessarily resonate with Nana’s faith, she admired and respected Nana deeply for all the good that her religion brought out in her. AIVA ASTRA would often go with her to church on Sundays.
On an important trip to visit her aunt in Provincetown, Cape Cod, AIVA ASTRA had an aura photograph taken and a tarot reading done in which the reader sensed AIVA ASTRA’s potential for what would become her next major spiritual evolution: Reiki, a Japanese healing modality that roughly translates to universal life force energy.
Overseas in Camden sometime later, AIVA ASTRA met a Reiki master who guided her into the practice. “That was it for me,” AIVA ASTRA said. “I was like oh, this is who I am...."
"This is me knowing how to use spirituality in a way that will support me, as a person and as an artist, but really as a person and as who I’m becoming. It really anchored me. From then I’ve just been a spiritual person.”
Now a gifted Reiki practitioner and vessel for mystic vision, AIVA ASTRA’s spirituality plays a fundamental role in her song creation process: she is gifted with clairvoyance, or second sight, which often manifests itself in messages from the divine.
AIVA ASTRA’s “Creation” on Love Vibration is a perfect example of this. She was sitting out on her back porch in Chicago, looking at the sky, when a clear image of a creation story came to her in poetic, mystical, aethereal language and imagery. She later happened to open a Greek mythology book, and there on those pages was nearly the same language as what had come to her. This message became “Creation” on her 2020 EP The Love Vibration.
AIVA ASTRA sees her music as a method for communicating the words of the divine with others, and to her, this is the highest form of love and healing possible.
“I lead with that. Knowing who I am spiritually, I am able to trust myself. I see something clearly in my mind, and I know it’s coming from somewhere, from some higher power, for some reason.”
Check out AIVA ASTRA on Spotify and stream her latest collaboration with Tichi, Start Fires!